How to organise an event with no (or nearly no) budget

How to organise an event with no (or nearly no) budget

Organ­is­ing an event with­out spend­ing a lot of mon­ey is not an easy task, but it’s not impos­si­ble, either. Your event doesn’t need to suf­fer from a per­ceived lack of val­ue if you know how to get organ­ised and make the most of the resources you have. In this arti­cle, we’ll show you all the tips that will help you hold a suc­cess­ful event on a low budget.


    1. Plan

    When it comes to organ­is­ing an event, with or with­out mon­ey at your dis­pos­al, it’s essen­tial that you plan prop­er­ly. The amount of mon­ey you spend depends large­ly on this key point. The steps that will allow you to organ­ise your event with­out loos­en­ing the purse strings won’t be pos­si­ble if you’re not clear about your event’s objec­tive and the bud­get need­ed to achieve it.

    a) The objective

    An event with­out clear objec­tives is like a boat adrift. Why are you organ­is­ing this event? Organ­is­ing an event to pro­mote a brand is not the same as organ­is­ing a cul­tur­al event. Defin­ing objec­tives will show you the way for­ward and help you to dis­cern what is nec­es­sary or not.

    b) The budget

    Just because you have lit­tle mon­ey to spend on the event doesn’t mean that you don’t need to bud­get. In fact, the more lim­it­ed your bud­get, the more impor­tant it is to devote time and ener­gy to this cru­cial step. Not sure where to start? In anoth­er arti­cle, we explain the basic rules of bud­get­ing for your event.

    To stay in con­trol, remem­ber to always have a plan B and allow for a mar­gin in the event of cost vari­a­tions or unfore­seen events. Cau­tion is key to organ­is­ing an event with­out overspending!

    When esti­mat­ing costs, choose your sup­pli­ers wise­ly. Ask for quotes from sev­er­al dif­fer­ent sup­pli­ers before you com­mit and take time to exam­ine the ser­vices on offer. Part­ner with sup­pli­ers you trust and remem­ber that, some­times, cheap can mean expensive.

    2. Create partnerships

    Even if your organ­i­sa­tion doesn’t have a bud­get to devote to the event you want to organ­ise, oth­er com­pa­nies may be inter­est­ed in invest­ing finan­cial­ly in your event, or con­tribut­ing mate­ri­al­ly, if you offer them an incen­tive in return. The most impor­tant things to remem­ber when seek­ing this type of part­ner­ship is to be con­sis­tent, look for com­mon inter­ests — if your event is aimed at a young audi­ence, don’t knock on the door of a com­pa­ny that sells hair loss prod­ucts, for exam­ple — and be gen­er­ous by seek­ing a win-win rela­tion­ship.

    a) Find sponsors and partners

    If you’ve pre­pared your bud­get prop­er­ly, you’ll already have a clear idea of your needs. Use this as a start­ing point to look for com­pa­nies that both offer the ser­vices you need and are inter­est­ed in your event. To find such part­ner­ships, you’ll need to be very clear about who your audi­ence is and what your event’s val­ues are. These will be your com­pass when it comes to find­ing part­ners and spon­sors with sim­i­lar interests.

    Think care­ful­ly about what you can offer them in return. Remem­ber that in this con­text you are look­ing for win-win rela­tion­ships, not altru­sis­tic help (there is room for that too, but it will be much more dif­fi­cult unless you’re a non-prof­it organ­i­sa­tion). You can offer brand acti­va­tions of all kinds, as well as vis­i­bil­i­ty on dif­fer­ent media for­mats, includ­ing web­sites, posters, tick­et­ing, newslet­ters, and so on.

    Cre­ate a spon­sor­ship offer­ing, with dif­fer­ent lev­els and prices, to present a clear pro­pos­al to your poten­tial spon­sors. You can adapt this if you iden­ti­fy oppor­tu­ni­ties with a par­tic­u­lar poten­tial spon­sor, espe­cial­ly if they can offer you a much-need­ed service.

    b) Call on volunteers and interns

    At any event, there are always thou­sands of tasks to be done, things to be super­vised, and so on. Dur­ing the plan­ning and organ­i­sa­tion peri­od, the team required is small­er, but on the ground, the more the mer­ri­er. In order to lim­it your bud­get dur­ing the event and not incur large expens­es, you may call on vol­un­teers, or stu­dents in event organ­is­ing who wish to car­ry out an intern­ship. It’s also a good idea to use their help dur­ing the plan­ning and organ­i­sa­tion period.

    In both cas­es, bear in mind that they are there to help out and should not take on posi­tions of respon­si­bil­i­ty. Trainees are also there to learn from you, so you will need to sup­port them. Don’t for­get to offer them some­thing in return for their help, usu­al­ly some­thing relat­ed to the expe­ri­ence they can have at your event.

    c) Get speakers or performances for free

    One aspect that can sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase your spend­ing, depend­ing on your event, is fees for per­form­ers or speakers.

    To reduce or elim­i­nate this, you can look for peo­ple in your area who might be inter­est­ed in per­form­ing at your event to pro­mote them­selves, to try out a new show or, if you’re hold­ing a con­fer­ence, to com­mu­ni­cate their mes­sage to your audience.

    3. Boost your revenue

    Just because you don’t have mon­ey to spend on your event doesn’t mean you can’t get fund­ing and make a prof­it. There are dif­fer­ent ways of boost­ing income from an event, and depend­ing on the type of event you’re organ­is­ing, some will be more suit­able for your sit­u­a­tion than oth­ers. We’ve already dis­cussed how to raise funds through spon­sors; here are two oth­er ways you should consider:

    a) Donations

    If you are a non-prof­it organ­i­sa­tion or organ­is­ing a char­i­ty event, it should be rel­a­tive­ly straight­for­ward to launch a dona­tion cam­paign to raise funds for your event. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly valu­able in terms of cash flow, as you will be able to rely on it for the first pay­ments you’ll need to make dur­ing the organ­i­sa­tion of your event.

    You can also request dona­tions through your event for an unre­lat­ed cause. In this case, your event will act as a loud­speak­er for the cause and as a means of col­lect­ing dona­tions. This type of action can indi­rect­ly help you raise funds for your event if your poten­tial spon­sors or col­lab­o­ra­tors are sen­si­tive to the cause you are sup­port­ing and wish to asso­ciate their brand image with it.

    b) Ticket sales

    If you are charg­ing for tick­ets, then tick­et sales will be one of your main sources of income. To make the most of this and set up your online tick­et­ing sys­tem with­out spend­ing any mon­ey, con­sid­er these key tips:

    • price your tick­ets appro­pri­ate­ly and work on price lev­els based on cri­te­ria such as ear­ly pur­chase or ser­vices included;
    • pass on your tick­et­ing platform’s fee to buyers;
    • opt for self-dis­tri­b­u­tion and only use dis­trib­u­tors to reach audi­ences you can’t reach yourself;
    • com­mu­ni­cate prop­er­ly around your event to ensure your tick­ets sell out.

    Whether tick­ets for your event are free or not, tick­et­ing will be high­ly use­ful and will indi­rect­ly help you save mon­ey by pro­vid­ing you with valu­able data on your atten­dees and clear guid­ance on their num­bers, as well as facil­i­tat­ing access con­trol and capac­i­ty man­age­ment. You will end up with a com­pre­hen­sive data­base of valu­able infor­ma­tion for your future events, as well as a direct chan­nel for com­mu­ni­cat­ing with your attendees.

    Want to know more about the best ways to find sources of rev­enue for your event? Don’t miss our arti­cle with 12 ideas for opti­mis­ing and sus­tain­ing your event rev­enue.

    4. Reduce your costs

    Although you may be able to secure fund­ing, you will need to com­ple­ment your strat­e­gy with cost cut­ting. Gen­er­al­ly, the first step to reduc­ing the costs of your event is to start plan­ning it well in advance. This will give you the flex­i­bil­i­ty you need to obtain dis­counts, nego­ti­at­ing pow­er and over­all low­er costs.

    Pay par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to the fol­low­ing aspects, which will be key to your savings:

    • Date and venue of the event: If you are flex­i­ble on this, you will get a bet­ter price. You will also save mon­ey if your event takes place dur­ing the week.
    • Time slots: Think strate­gi­cal­ly about time slots for your event. Do you want to save mon­ey on food, or do you want food to be a source of income by charg­ing atten­dees and nego­ti­at­ing deals with food trucks or the venue’s restau­rant? Play with time slots to either encour­age or avoid the need to eat dur­ing your event.
    • Food: As well as the strate­gies we’ve just men­tioned, in some types of events you may also want to ask atten­dees to bring some food to share. The reg­is­tra­tion form via your tick­et­ing or reg­is­tra­tion plat­form can be very use­ful for ensur­ing each attendee indi­cates what they intend to bring.
    • Dec­o­ra­tion: Keep it sim­ple. If you like arts and crafts, you can cre­ate your own decorations.
    • Web­site: These days, it’s essen­tial that you have a web­site ded­i­cat­ed exclu­sive­ly to your event. Instead of spend­ing large sums on a design­er or time try­ing to do it your­self with solu­tions like Word­Press, opt for a tick­et­ing and reg­is­tra­tion plat­form that offers you a free mini-site for your event which is cus­tomis­able and easy to use. You can inte­grate the infor­ma­tion you need and eas­i­ly sell your tickets.

    5. Send thanks

    After the event, it’s impor­tant that you main­tain a good rela­tion­ship with your audi­ence, part­ners, spon­sors, team and vol­un­teers. Thank them for their sup­port in mak­ing your event pos­si­ble. For an event that you have man­aged to organ­ise with zero bud­get at the start, this step is extreme­ly important.

    Send a thank-you email to every­one who attend­ed and you will set the stage for the next edi­tion of your event to be just as suc­cess­ful, if not more so. To make it eas­i­er, use a mail­ing solu­tion that is direct­ly linked to your event’s tick­et­ing system.

    You now know that organ­is­ing an event with­out a bud­get is pos­si­ble, and you have the keys to mak­ing it hap­pen. Weezevent’s event man­age­ment solu­tions will help you reach your goals effort­less­ly: online tick­et­ing, access con­trol, mail­ing and CRM, and a cash­less pay­ment sys­tem will be your allies in organ­is­ing a unique and suc­cess­ful event.

    Need advice? Our team is at your dis­pos­al to answer all your questions.

    Con­tact us

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